I greet all of you the delegates of the National Conference. I extend condolences to all of us for those of our members who, since the last conference, are no longer with us on this earth. One of those who left us is the Rt. Hon. Eriya Kategaya, one of the Executive Committee Members of Fronasa in 1971. Let us stand up for a minute of silence to remember all those of our comrades that left us. May their souls rest in eternal peace.
When we talk of political organizations, if we are to do so meaningfully and profitably, we must talk about three words: ideology, progressive politics which means applied ideology and organizational work which means the forms of political organization and the methods used in the process.
Let us start with ideology. Ideology is the sum total of both the diagnosis of societal problems and the prescription for their cure. I do not have to protract this discussion by quoting the writings of the various cardinal historic thinkers and actors over the ages such as Adam Smith, Karl Marx, Lenin, Maynard Keynes, Mao Tse Tung, Mwalimu Nyerere or Samora Machel. They were all grappling with these two aspects: the diagnosis of society’s problems and the prescriptions for the cure of those problems. When the diagnosis is accurate like when Adam Smith said in his book, “the Wealth of Nations” that “Industrialised production is admirably suited to the application of the division of labour, whereas agriculture, by its very nature, resists specialization,” then society is able to move forward until it meets a new obstacle that needs fresh diagnosis. He gave the example of a pin which, though small, had 36 specialised pieces. His pointing out of division of labour and specialization was a historic understanding to the struggle of producing more wealth. Society, guided by that insight, will progress until it meets a new obstacle that needs fresh diagnosis and prescription. He also helped to understand the role of self-interest (private enterprise) in creating wealth. One of his famous quotes on this issue goes like this: “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner but from their regard for their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love.” In other words, the butcher, the brewer and the baker work so hard in order to serve us, not out of their altruism and love for us, but out of their self-love. If, on the other hand, the diagnosis is inaccurate like in the case of the bullionists who held that wealth is measured by the amount of precious metals owned, society will stagnate like Portugal and Spain, who excelled in stealing gold and silver from South America and killing the Red Indians, did.
In the case of the NRM, after many years of scrutiny, we discovered two useful words and targets. The two words were: Prosperity and Security. The question we had to answer was: “What are the factors that can lead our society, our tribes, our clans, our families, to prosperity in the context of the modern world characterized as it is by the money nexus? What are the factors that can lead these component parts of society to security? The two words: Prosperity and Security.
What does prosperity mean in the modern context? It means that each of our individual families has sufficient income to live a good life, the family members are educated and they are healthy. Where will the income come from? The income can only come from any one of the 5 sectors: commercial agriculture, industries (manufacturing, processing – big and small), services (shops, transport, hotels, professional services, etc), ICT (ebyuuma bya kalimagezi) and Public Service. Family members who are old enough to engage in gainful employment can participate in four of the above sectors either as entrepreneurs or workers. The four are: commercial agriculture, industries, services and ICT. As far as the fifth one, Public Service, is concerned, people can, of course, only participate in the form of employees of the central government, local governments, municipal council governments or government parastatals and agencies.
What, then, are the factors that can stimulate, sustain and cause to thrive the four sectors that can guarantee the prosperity of our families? There are three major factors that can do that. These are a critical mass of the buyers and consumers of the goods and services produced by our families and communities infrastructure to support the production and exchange of those goods and services (electricity, roads, the railways, ICT, etc., etc.) and security of person and property (in otherwords, peace in the country). There are other subsidiary and supplementary factors such as regulatory framework, etc. However, in my opinion, those three are the basic and cardinal ones: market (buyers of goods and services) infrastructure and peace – security of person and property.
It was this understanding that helped the NRM to defog the ideological and political situation that we confronted in the 1960s, 70s and early 80s. The question we had to answer was: “If the prosperity of families and communities was dependent on markets to buy their goods and services, on good infrastructure and on peace, what, then, should be the ideological principles of a political organization that could have the capacity to provide a solution to the predicament of the people? This is why I always like to descend to the lowest rung (level) of the ladder, the family and the community (the latter commonly referred to as the tribe). Who buys the goods and services of a given community? Most often those goods and services are not bought within the tribe. Why not? It is, mainly, because many of the tribes or sub-tribes produce similar products as already pointed out. Hence, A in that tribe cannot buy from B or vice-versa because they are producing similar products.
I always like to give the example of the Banyankore who specialize in producing milk, beef, bananas, coffee and tea. As far as the first three products are concerned, they rarely buy from one another on account of producing similar products. Who, then, are the rescuers of the Banyankore in the form of buying their products? It is the people of Kampala, the people of Uganda who buy their products. Hence, the prosperity of the Banyankore is not, mainly, based on the Banyankore but on the rest of Ugandans. Coffee and tea are bought by the international community but, of course, they are conveyed to the coast through the non-Banyankore parts of Uganda and other parts of East Africa. Even in these, the Banyankore are dependent on the other Ugandans and East Africans for prosperity. Even in the pre-colonial, pre-capitalist times, barter trade existed throughout the whole length and breadth of East and Central Africa – between Bunyoro and Buganda, between the interior and the coast. Banyoro, for instance, used to specialize in hoes manufacture, Kooki and Buhaya in bark-cloth, etc. Unfortunately, the tribal kings would foment endless troubles through inter-tribal wars which would, somehow, interfere with this trade.
It is this realization that galvanized our abhorrence to the sectarian ideology of tribes or religion, the chauvinism against women and the marginalization of the disabled, the youth, etc. It enabled us to firmly and scientifically distil the first principle of NRM from the fog of perceptions that were abundant in Uganda at that time. This is the principle of patriotism or nationalism as it is sometimes described. It, therefore, became the first ideological principle of the NRM.
In order to guarantee the prosperity of the families and the communities, we have, however, already seen that the internal Ugandan market is not enough – first of all, the coffee and the tea of the Banyankore are consumed mainly outside Uganda and conveyed to the coast through the other parts of East Africa. Besides, even for the products consumed in Uganda – milk, beef, bananas, etc. – the internal market is not enough. Our prosperity will be better if our regional partners in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, Congo, etc. buy from us as they are doing. You all have seen the impact of those markets on our economy and prosperity. This need for the Ugandan market and the regional market is necessary for all the tribes of Uganda, not just for the Banyankore.
Hence, our second principle became Pan-Africanism. It is not only patriotism that will guarantee our prosperity but also Pan-Africanism.
Then, the NRM identified the third principle of socio-economic transformation that is indispensable for our society to move from a peasant society based on subsistence farming to a middle class, skilled working class society as has happened in Europe in the last 500 years. It is a shame that Africa is, at least, 200 years behind Europe in social metamorphosis. Two stimuli are crucial here. One is education for all. That is why we, in 1996, introduced UPE (Universal Primary Education) and, later on, added USE (Universal Secondary Education). An educated person has more chances, by no means automatic, of social mobility from the peasantry to either the middle-class or the skilled working class.
The other channel of mobility from the peasantry is that provided by money making activities. As already alluded to above, the sectors that have those channels are: commercial agriculture, industry, services, ICT and public service. The public service has got limited jobs, standing at a figure of 350,000 only. It is, therefore, the other four that offer us opportunities for how one can move from peasantry to middle-class and skilled working class. The two means of sustenance of the middle-class and the skilled working class are: profit – the difference between the input costs and the price of the end product and wages for labour offered by the employer to the employee in any of the five sectors mentioned above. In the census of 2002, only 32% of the homesteads had joined the money economy. 68% of the households were still in subsistence economy. This is where the problems of Uganda and Africa lie. It is the pre-capitalist nature of much of the sustenance means and activities of the Uganda population, of the African population. The lack of the total monetization of the Ugandan economy, the total eradication of the traditional, non-monetary modes of production (e.g. traditional cattle-keeping, traditional crop husbandry, subsistence farming, etc.) are the mainstay of the under-development of the Ugandan population.
The recent census has not yet processed the updated figures on these parameters. We shall inform you when they are computed. The pre-capitalist modes of production – feudal relations (bibanja and busuulu), subsistence farming, etc. – are inefficient and non-rewarding. Moreover, they are characterized by drudgery and back-breaking labour mainly dependent on manual labouor – based on human muscle-power sometimes, in a few places like Kapchorwa, on animal power (the donkey). You can, therefore, say that of the traditional modes of production, the people of Kapchorwa who use the donkey to carry loads and the people of Teso, Lango, etc., who use the oxen to plough, had a slightly more aanced implements of production. Much of the rest of the country were using the raw-muscle-power of the human being – using the hand-hoe, carrying loads on the head, etc., etc. We must move from the human muscle-power labour and the labour of the donkey and the oxen to intellectual labour. It is the human intellect that produced machines – the tractor, the motor-cycle, the pick-up truck for loads and locomotion, the calculator, etc, etc. We have already moved in some cases. By using the mobile phone, it is no longer necessary to shout across the valleys when calling somebody (okweeta) or sending runners (entumwa) to carry the message to the distant village. Let us cover the whole spectrum of shifting away from manual, muscle-based labour to the use of the products of intellectual labour. All these immediately mentioned above are what constitutes socio-economic transformation. Therefore, socio-economic transformation, from the pre-capitalist feudal or traditional society to middle-class, skilled working class society, became the third principle of NRM.
The fourth principle of the NRM was democracy. This is clear enough. In the case of the NRM, we created a very powerful structure of village-based committees covering all the 57,792 villages of Uganda. There are 30 NRM leaders in each of those villages. The weakness that this Conference must cure is that these village NRM Committees and also the Local Government LCIs must be fully engaged and taken aantage of to improve the welfare of everybody in our society. The NRM, therefore, did not only provide the diagnosis and possible therapy for the problems of Uganda but also created a massive structure that could help the leadership to more easily explain and implement that vision. In the bush, these 4 principles were divided into 10 points (hence, the 10 point programme) and, later, into the 15 point programme. The two documents are attached to this speech.
These four principles have already helped us to successfully form student study groups in the 1960s, to form a politico-military organization that helped us to successfully prosecute the two wars of resistance, the resistance wars culminated in the capture of power in 1986, helped us to bring total peace in the whole of Uganda for the first time in the last 120 years (since 1894 when the British colonized Uganda) and enabled Uganda to start on the long march to economic recovery and modernization.
The economy has expanded from US$ 1.5 billion in 1986 to now almost US$ 28 billion. The GDP per capita is now US$788. The Ugandan exports of goods and services ever since 1962 are listed here below in terms of value in US dollars:
Exports of goods and services in the current US$(millions) Exports of goods and services in the current US$(millions)
1962 108.28 1988 492.90
1963 146.07 1989 419.71
1964 176.17 1990 311.67
1965 226.24 1991 247.95
1966 236.60 1992 250.34
1967 244.72 1993 227.44
1968 248.36 1994 348.78
1969 251.57 1995 678.73
1970 294.13 1996 723.00
1971 280.83 1997 837.55
1972 289.09 1998 634.71
1973 281.68 1999 734.92
1974 308.95 2000 659.67
1975 204.11 2001 672.71
1976 278.70 2002 702.85
1977 268.76 2003 834.01
1978 330.43 2004 1132.29
1979 415.00 2005 1542.02
1980 242.00 2006 1735.59
1981 215.00 2007 2439.03
1982 182.50 2008 3039.72
1983 194.00 2009 3353.75
1984 458.91 2010 3467.64
1985 483.55 2011 4297.50
1986 502.57 2012 4915.76
1987 517.05 2013 5176.46
On the side of the infrastructure, we have repaired the 1,200 kms of tarmac roads we inherited in 1986 and built another 3,800 kms of new tarmac roads. We are now planning and we have secured money for the tarmacking of the following roads using Uganda Government money:
Kampala-Masaka Tororo-Mbale-Soroti Jinja-Kamuli Hoima-Kaisotonya Ishaka-Kagamba Moroto-Nakapiripirit Mpigi-Kanoni Kanoni-Sembabule-Villa-Maria Musita-Lumino-Busia Olwiyo-Gulu Gulu-Acholibur Acholibur-Musingo Mukono-Kayunga-Njeru Mukono-Kyetume-Katosi Mubende-Kakumiro-Kagadi-NdaigaMbarara-Kikagate Tirinyi-Pallisa-Kumi, Hoima-Kigoroobya-Biiso-Wanseko, Masindi Port-Apac-Lira-Kitgum etc., etc.
Using loans and grants from outside, we have already done, we are doing or we shall also do the following roads in terms of tarmacking: Arua-Oraba, Gulu-Atiak, Atiak-Bibia, Masaka-Mbarara, Mbarara-Kabaale-Katuna, Fort Portal-Bundibugyo, Arua-Oraba, Gulu-Atiak-Bibia, Mbale-Magale-Bumbo-Lwakhakha with a branch to Manjiya, Rukungiri-Kanungu-Ishasha-Nyakishenyi, Kapchorwa-Kween-Bukwo-Suam, Kigumba-Masindi-Hoima-Kagadi-Kyenjojo, Iganga-Kaliro (reconstruction) Tirinyi-Pallisa-Kumi, Soroti-Katakwi-Moroto, Moroto-Kotido-Kaabong, Soroti-Amuria-Acan Pii-Abim, Masaka-Bukakata, etc., etc.
In order to modernize our economy, we must lower the costs of doing business in our country. The two factors that push up costs are transport and electricity. Let us start with electricity. A unit of electricity produced by Nalubaale power station or Kiira power station is at 3US cents. That produced by Bujagaali is at US cents 11 per unit. What causes this difference? It is the fact that with Bujagaali we used private people who used borrowed money to build that dam. Those developers have, however, had to charge a high electricity price per unit because they are trying to pay back those loans and also make profit for themselves. This is something we must avoid in future. Unfortunately, those of our people who negotiated for Bujagaali did not even stick to our position when we had negotiated with AES where we had agreed on US$ 4.9 cents per unit. Unfortunately, on account of the delays caused by our internal actors, by the time we came to Bujagaali, our people had accepted the price of US$ 11 cents per unit because, as they are saying, the financial situation globally had changed and contractors were also diverted to other jobs such as the re-building of the city of New Orleans in the USA that was destroyed by the floods. Whatever the reasons, however, this price of US$ 11 cents is not favourable to our industrialization programme. In order to ensure affordable electricity for industrialization, the following is our plan. As far as Karuma and Isimba are concerned, we are going to use loans from China and our own contribution, using the money from the Energy Fund. This will be the government borrowing. As a consequence, the unit cost for power from Karuma will be 5 US cents and that of Isimba will be 4.8 US cents. Our negotiators must, henceforth, be very careful about this point. This electricity is not for just disco playing (ebikeesa) but for production, especially manufacturing. Therefore, expensive electricity must not be heard of again. With regard to the power from Bujagaali and other expensive sources, a more expeditious reduction of unit costs needs to be worked out rather than the present schemes. According to the present scheme, the unit costs of Bujagaali power will come down from the current 11 cents per unit to 3 cents per unit, after 18 years, when the borrowers have finished paying their loans. This is not good for manufacturing.
The other cost pusher is transport. A 20 ft container of 18 metric tonnes from Mombasa to Kampala is US dollars 3200by road. The same container but weighing 32 metric tonnes costs US dollars 1500 to transport from Peking (Beijing) to Shanghai by railway. Today, even with our present inefficient railway, the cost of the same container from Mombasa to Kampala is US dollars 2100,which is US dollars 1100 less expensive than the road. With the Standard Gauge Railway we are going to build, the transport cost of the same container weighing 32 metric tonnes will be US dollars 1650 and will take only one day from Mombasa to Kampala compared to the present railway which takes 21 days .
With cheap and abundant electricity and cheap and efficient transport, our economy will modernize, go through the middle-income phase, so as to become a First World economy. With our partners in East Africa and COMESA, we have already created an important stimulus for growth and transformation by creating the big market of 150million people for EAC and400million people for COMESA. Besides, we have negotiated for international markets – access, at zero tax and no quota limitation – to the USA, the EU, the Indian and the Japanese markets. China has also given us market access for 440 products.
One effort of job creation is to encourage the setting up of Business Processes Outsourcing (BPO). This is in order to exploit sector No.4 (ICT)-whereby Ugandan Accountants and Auditors, work on company books from the USA or Canada, transmit the product of their work across the internet and are paid their remuneration while they are here in Kampala or in any other of the Ugandan towns provided there is reliable internet connection. We can also set up call centres to provide solutions to companies from the USA, Canada etc, while our people are operating from Kampala, in respect of electricity companies, water supply companies, hospitals etc. As of now, the Government is operating a Business Processes Outsourcing centre which employs 280 people while the private sector has 40 registered operators in Kampala who are employing 5000 people and the numbers are increasing. This sector can potentially, employ many of our children given that they speak very good Kampala Parents’ School English, different from Kyamate Boys’ English spoken by us, the older generation.
The other two interventions to help create jobs are on the one hand to create, improve or expand the marketing points e.g. urban markets, worksheds etc and, on the other hand, to implement and proliferate our policy of industrial estates and export free zones such as Namanve, Kaweweta etc. You have seen the quality of the markets we have commissioned in Wandegeya, Jinja, Mbale etc. We are going to roll out more and more of these as well as the industrial estates and the export free zones.
Besides, the socio-economic interventions we have been carrying out have not been in vain. While in 1986, we had only 1,209,640 pupils in primary schools, in 2014, we have 8,459,720 pupils in government and private primary schools. While in 1986, we had 123,589 students in secondary schools, we now have 1,362,739 students in the government and private secondary schools. In 1986, we had 5,390 university students. We now have 140,403students in the government and private universities. In 1986, we had one university. We now have 32 universities, both government and private. The society is somehow metamorphosing. In 1986, only 10%of the people were living in the urban areas. Today, about 22% of the people are living in the urban areas. As you know, urbanization is part of the necessary social-economic metamorphosis – to decongest the villages so as to make room for more rational, commercial farming and provide manpower for working in the towns, in factories, services and ICT.
Although our school enrolment has increased tremendously, there is still the problem of skilling all these products of the educational system. It would be desirable if many of the 10 million Ugandans in schools and Universities could go beyond the numeracy and alphabetization and acquire technical skills across the whole spectrum. The country and the global job market needs nurses, technicians, machine operators, mechanics, mathematicians, engineers, computer scientists, laboratory technicians, doctors, pilots etc. etc. This is not to forget accountants, auditors and managers. In order to thus skill the Ugandans, the NRM Government has been implementing the programme of building a technical school per district and, eventually, one per constituency. As of now, we have 5 Technical Colleges across the country for S.6 Leavers i.e. Uganda Technical College Kicwamba, Lira, Bushenyi, Mt. Elgon-Mbale and Kyema in Bunyoro, 5 Teacher Training Colleges for S.6 Leavers i.e. Uganda National Teachers’ College Mubende, Kabale, Kaliro, Muni-Arua and Unyama-Gulu, 57 Technical Institutes for S.4 Leavers, 42 Technical Institutes and Community Polytechnics for P7 Leavers and 4 Tourism Schools i.e. Jinja Hotel and Tourism Training Institute, Uganda Wildlife Training Institute-Mweya, Makerere University and Makerere University Business School. I have directed the Ministry of Education to build a Marine School at Namasagali to train boat drivers, ferry technicians, water navigators so that we equip the growing fleet of fresh water transport operators. The plan is to build, at least, one technical institute (for S.4 Leavers) per constituency. At one time, we had intended to build a vocational school per sub-county. It proved too expensive. Hence the fall back plan, per constituency and per district as appropriate.
This social-economic metamorphosis will accelerate as we solve the bottle-necks of infrastructure as pointed out above. Low costs of electricity and transport will definitely, attract more investors in the four sectors: commercial farming, industry, services and ICT and enable those already in those sectors to thrive better. Our economy has been growing at the rate of 6.6% per annum for the last 28 years in spite of the lack of roads, lack of electricity, a poor railway network, no ICT back-bone, etc. How much more will this economy grow now that we are solving these bottlenecks? Clearly, the sky is the limit.
There are four weaknesses that we have been pointing out to our NRM colleagues and government officials. One weakness has been the delaying of Private Sector investments by government officials. In Canada, it takes only 2 days to register a new investment. In Singapore it is also two days. Here in Uganda, it is 32 days, allegedly. In reality, however, sometimes, it takes four years or more. I can think of a number of investments – Amuru Sugar factory, Sango Bay – Lukoma Airport project, the Buvuma – Ssese Islands Palm Oil project, etc., etc. This is treason to our people. It is these very projects that will generate more exports for us, create jobs for our youth and give incomes to our homesteads by buying raw-materials from the rural households. I am getting to the position of zero-tolerance to this type of conduct by any actor – official or otherwise.
The second weakness or mistake has been the prolonged failure to implement our plan of Prosperity for All (PFA), first launched in 1995 when, after the successful pilot projects in some parts of the country and in order to rescue the homesteads that had already fragmented the family lands on account of wrong inheritance practices, we aised the rural homesteads to adopt a four acres plan. This involved planting one acre of clonal coffee, one acre of fruits, one acre of bananas or any other food crop and one acre of pasture for the dairy cattle. In the backyard (emanju), we recommended poultry for meat or eggs and piggery for those who are not Moslems. Those near the swamps, we recommended fish farming. To cater for those families that had already fragmented the land, we recommended piggeries, poultry, onions and vegetables and mushroom growing. Meanwhile, we aised all Ugandans against any further land fragmentation through inheritance. We aised that the better way of inheritance is by the use of shares (emigabo) so that the children of the deceased divide what comes from the land but not the land itself.
Besides, we also provided money for the campaign for homestead incomes in the form of entandikwa, PMA, Restocking, Peace Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP), Northern Uganda Social Action Fund (NUSAF), Micro-finance, NAADS, etc, etc. Altogether, as of now, these different funds have got an annual total of Uganda Shs 485.65 billions. NAADS alone is given shs. 203 billions per annum. All this money, however, has, unfortunately, not gone through to the poor families that we intended to help. While attending the Heroes Day on the 9th of June, 2013, at Butalangwa, Nakaseke, after the function, I was, again, besieged by the peasants who were supporting us in the latest resistance war of 1981 – 85, complaining about their conditions of life and asking for my intervention. My intervention meant the so called “pledges” of the President. These pledges are never adequately funded because much of the State money goes to the institutionalized solutions such as NAADS rather than these ad-hoc channels of “pledges”. I decided that enough was enough. I had to intervene in NAADS to begin with in order to empower the families of the peasants that supported us between 1971-1986, as a start off point.
In order to show the scale of the wastage, I will just use Shs. 100 billion which is slightly below the 50% level of the NAADS funding for one year. If we were to use just this Shs. 100 billion to provide seedlings to the homesteads that can and want to grow coffee, at the current price of Shs. 300 per seedling, plus Shs. 10 for transport, we would divide 100,000,000,000 divide 310 = 322,580,645 seedlings. Let us correct to the nearest whole number and we end up with a round figure of 323 million coffee seedlings. If these are robusta seedlings, we would end up planting about 717,000 acres of land. Assuming one homestead was to get one acre, this would mean 717,000 homesteads. The total number of the old coffee trees that have been giving us 4 million, 60kgs bags, per year all these years have been 220 million trees of the less yielding varieties. These new coffee trees will yield 5more times than the old coffee trees. By planting the 323 million new coffee trees, Uganda’s production in future will be20million, 60kgs bags. It will cover 717,000 acres of land. All at a cost of just Shs. 100 billion, less than 50% of one year’s NAADS allocation!! How could we fail to help our people with all these possibilities?
That is why I moved in with UPDF in NAADS, starting with the Fronasa -NRA war zones of 1971-1986. In the last 3 seasons – September 2013, to date – the UPDF officers have supervised the planting of 26.4 million seedlings of coffee, 389,824 seedlings of mangoes,846,756seedlings of Oranges (fruits), 2.2million seedlings of tea, 2,008.5 tonnes of maize, 812.1 tonnes of beans, bags (cuttings) of cassava, etc. The coffee seedlings covered 58,445.4 acresof land, fruits covered 14,553.9 acres and the tea seedlings covered 549.8 acres of land. Most of the homesteads of the civilian Fronasa and NRA veterans have now been covered, in just 3 seasons. The maize seeds and beans have generated bumper crops in these areas. The problem now is post-harvest handling and value-addition. We have now deployed the UPDF officers to all the constituencies of Uganda. You will see the impact. Let everybody co-operate. We shall succeed.
The third weakness, are problems created by Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA). After a lot of struggle, we managed to get a reasonable amount of money for the road sector – Shs. 1,700 billion (1.7 trillion shillings). Much of this money is for the tarmacking of the new roads listed above. However, there is 180 billion shillings for maintaining the old tarmac roads and maintaining the murram roads under UNRA. UNRA claims that this 180 billion shillings is not enough to maintain these old tarmac and the murram roads. This is turning out not to be true because there is the example of the Local Governments that receive Shs. 142 billion for the maintenance of their roads. Their roads are better than the UNRA roads. Why? It is, mainly, on account of two factors. One, the Local Governments have now decided to listen to our aice of using their one grader per district and the few tippers we gave them to work on the murram roads themselves rather than relying on tenders with the private sector where they use sometimes five times more money than when they do the works themselves. To work on a kilometer of properly graveled, drained and compacted murram road using tendered contractors, you can spend on average 50 million shillings and yet, using our own Government labour (i.e. our own machines), you will spend on average 25 million shillings.
My proposed solution to this problem is to buy about1,000 pieces of very good road and other earth-moving equipment from Japan so that we are able to add an excavator, a road-compactor (roller) and a water bowzer to the lone grader we have already given to each district as well as the tippers we have already given to each district. In this way, the districts will be enabled to work on the murram roads that are now being mismanaged by UNRA. The big districts like Mubende, Arua, Wakiso, etc. will get two or even three road units to cope with their size and population. Some of the 180 billion shillings that we give to UNRA will be given to the districts as a consequence of taking on the new roads. The second reason, I think this will work is that the LC V chairman, the councilors, etc. in the district who have got a vested interest in ensuring that the roads are done because they want to be re-elected by the people, unlike the unpatriotic, remote, unsupervised and unaccountable UNRA staff, are likely to put in more effort in working on these roads. There was some mistake in involving this group in the rural roads.
I have also already instructed the new Prime Minister and the Minister of the Presidency to scan the whole spectrum of Government expenditure and indentify the money that is supposed to be for monitoring in the ministries and agencies that is never used for that purpose. Some of this money can be given to the districts so that the councilors, the Resident District Commissioners (RDCs), etc. can help us to do the monitoring that is never done.
The fourth problem is corruption. It is true that corruption by State officials has been part of the problems facing the people of Uganda since the colonial times. I remember that in the colonial and post-colonial times, veterinary and medical staff would sell government drugs, the policemen would take bribes from the taxi drivers (wakadaala) that would overload their vehicles, chiefs would take gifts from the public, the people had to gather food (eggs, chicken, cattle, etc.) for the visiting chief or District Commissioner (DC), etc. etc. In the post-colonial period (especially during Amin’s time and after), this crime of corruption was reinforced with extra-judicial killings (disappearances), rape, defilements, looting of people’s properties, extortion of money at road-blocks by the army, grabbing of people’s cars, killing of the animals in the National Parks (poaching), illegal logging of timber from the Government forests, etc. etc. Even, when the NRM was still in the bush, it abolished most of these crimes in the librated areas. When the NRM liberated the whole country, we extended the abolition to the whole country.
Out of the 13 or so crimes and forms of corruption enumerated above, we abolished all the crimes immediately except the three we are still struggling with. These are: embezzlement of public funds, bribes to public officers for services that should be free and for contracts awarded by government agencies and nepotism. All the others, were stopped promptly by the NRAUPDF. Why? It was because these crimes and forms of corruption only needed two elements to stop them: political-ideological orientation and will as well as a committed cadre-ship (e.g. officers and men of NRAUPDF). The problem with the residual crimes and forms of corruption is that they require an additional element. Apart from political will guided by a correct ideological orientation as well as a committed cadre-ship, the crimes and forms of corruption of embezzling public funds and bribery, require the additional element of expertise that is only acquired after prolonged training and also experience. You, in particular, need good investigators, prosecutors (lawyers), auditors, accountants, accounting officers Permanent Secretaries (PSs), Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs), Town Clerks and Gombolola chiefs) as well as adjudicators (magistrates and judges) that are also ideologically well orientated and are upright. While stopping extra judicial killings, requires a form four (4) leaver (S.4) whom you have given an officer cadet course of 12 months (to become a 2nd Lieutenant), with embezzlement and bribery, you do not only need a university graduate (18 years of education) but to become a Grade 1 Magistrate, which is the lowest level, heshe must be a qualified lawyer with a degree in Law ( 4 years of study) and a Diploma in Legal Practice (1 year) totaling to 5 years and to become a Judge, heshe must have had a working experience of not less than 10 years as a practicing aocate before a court with unlimited jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters. In otherwords, for one to become a Judge in the High Court, he needs 29 years of preparation. This is why this front has been slower.
We simply did not have these types of people. Besides, even assuming we had them, which we did not have, we could not have dismissed the public servants we found in place without causing a big political crisis. To fight corruption in the roads sector, you do not only need engineers, but you need upright engineers of adequate years of working experience. To fight theft of drugs, you need medical consultants to supervise other doctors who may be corrupt. It is, therefore, not an emotional venture where you simply abhor corruption and it goes away. It is both abhorrence (which I have in plenty) but also upright professionals, whose professional processing has a long gestation period (unlike an army officer who needed just a year after O-level in the past) and also a long working experience. Do not forget that these inherited anti-corruption warriors are not political appointees. The PS, the CAO, the Town Clerk, the Gombolola chief, the magistrate, the judge, the auditor, the accountant, the investigator, the prosecutor are all, without exception, brought forward by professional bodies. These are: the Public Service Commission, the District Service Commission, the Education Service Commission, the Judicial Service Commission, the Health Service Commission, etc. Even where the President is involved, he signs the instruments (documents of appointment) that are forwarded to him by these professional bodies. In all the 28 years I have been President, I can only remember two or three times when I refused to sign an appointment instrument forwarded to me by these bodies. I would have been wrong to do so. I also cannot blame those professional recommending bodies. They normally look at the academic performance of these people which is, of course, excellent. The recommending bodies cannot be expected to know the integrity of all these applicants. They must be assisted by the other structures. The corruption in them is not easy to detect, especially when they have no track record. Where there is a track record of poor performance, I have rejected the nominees. These are the few cases that I rejected.
Moreover, these public servants are given security of tenure by the constitution which is also perfectly in order. I do not agree with those who say that public servants should be easily dismissed. That will make matters worse. Therefore, the only correct strategy is what I adopted. On the one hand, be patient and give the people brought up by our professional bodies a chance to manage. When they fail, I use the same constitution to come in where you have the alternative cadres. That is what I did in Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) where I had to head-hunt for the ladies that, eventually, rescued that body. That is what I did with the City Council of Kampala, the Health Services Monitoring Unit headed by Dr. Diana Atwine as well as the Engineering Monitoring Unit in State House. This is not to forget the Police where I had to bring in Generals Katumba Wamala and Kale Kayihura. Give trust to all and intervene after clear failure. As you have seen, these interventions of mine always face resistance. They even come to Parliament and try to use it to oppose my selected sweepers of the AegeanStables such as Jennifer Musisi in KCCA.
Recently, you saw what I did with NAADS. We had given freedom of action to the Ministry of Agriculture and NAADS for a total of 14 years since NAADS started and a total sum of 2,800 billion (2.8 Trillions). They had achieved little in the majority of cases. Meanwhile, since I have for long identified commercialization of agriculture for all homesteads in rural Uganda as being a sine qua non of socio-economic transformation, I kept inspecting, randomly, their performance, haranguing them, giving exhortations to them, appealing to them, etc. Last year, however, I came to the conclusion that NAADS was incurable, that is why I decided to bring in the UPDF. NAADS has now started working well, beginning with the Fronasa – NRA former war zones. Therefore, I want to assure all and sundry that the residual forms of criminality – i.e. embezzlement, bribery and nepotism – will be defeated, albeit with new type of soldiers, just as we did the other forms of corruption and criminality – i.e.:
(i) extra-judicial killings
(iv) poaching the animals in the National Parks
(v) looting people’s property at road blocks
(vi) confiscating people’s property
(vii) destroying government resources (forests) by government officials
(ix) brutality of security forces with impunity, etc.
The tempo of extirpating each of these forms of crime and corruption was only determined by the nature of each category. One category was overt while the other was covert.
The immediately above mentioned crimes are some of the weaknesses that we are still grappling with on the side of the economy. On the side of politics, there are two problems. One problem is the neglect of the vast structure the NRM created for itself and for the country – these are the LCs and the NRM branches in the 57,792 villages of Uganda. After these structures are elected, they remain dormant until the next election time. This is not correct. It is a misuse of human resource. It is wasted opportunity. NRM was the first political force to create enough consensus among Ugandans to the extent of garnering 75% support in the 1996 elections. In spite of the rigging by the opposition and in spite of the poor mobilization by the NRM Secretariat, the lowest this consensus ever went was 59% in 2006. In 2011, it went back to 68%. This is a far cry from 1962 when none of the Political Parties could boast of even 50%. UPC got 37 Parliamentary Seats which was 45% of the 82 total seats in Parliament, DP got 24 seats which was 29% of the total and Kabaka Yekka, by intimidation and stopping the Baganda from participating in direct elections, got 21 seats which was 26% of the total. This is according to the seats in Parliament. However, according to the popular vote, DP and UPC were fairly close. The picture was distorted by the gerrymandering of constituencies by UPC. Therefore, the people of Uganda have been lucky to have got the NRM that finally put a huge chunk of them together. In the 2011 elections, they were even luckier when, for the first time, in the history of Uganda, a political force won in all the four regions of Uganda. It is, therefore, inexcusable for the NRM managers not to fully use this opportunity.
Some people try to talk about money – lack of money. I do not accept this because when we created these committees (the secret ones and the elected ones) in the Luwero Triangle, we neither had money nor did we have even peace. We moved on foot and bicycles to supervise these committees. What is crucial is concentration. I have quoted to some of you the example of St. Paul, that very good mobilizer for the early Christian church. Through his letters (epistles) to the Galatians, the Ephesians, the Thessalonians, the Romans, etc. he was able to give guidance to those branches of the early church. I myself used that method in the bush. The only resources I had were JOI Kagumire, a typist that had escaped from the Police force, a looted type-writer and cyclostyling machine. We would, using those rudimentary means, send articles, Resistance news to all our branches within the country and outside. This problem must be cured by having full time workers of the Party even if they are just a handful. Haji Kigongo and a few of the political workers supervised our committees from Kawanda to River Kafu and from Nakasongola to Mubende road. That is an area of about 10,000 sq. miles i.e. 11% of the whole land area of Uganda without radio broadcasts, telephones, vehicles, etc. However, the staff of the Secretariat of NRM today, have much better means of keeping in touch with the branches than Haji Kingongo and his small group of the late Eriya Kategaya, Otafiire, Mukwaya, Asiimwe, etc., etc. had at that time.
The other political mistake is the use of money in elections and the distorting of the purpose of leadership. A political leader is not a welfare officer, he is not an employee of the population, he is not a service provider. He is from the people, by the people and for the people. His role is to lead – to show the way by speech (aice, sensitization, etc.) and by example. Suppose a group of people is lost in the forest and, in order to get out of their predicament, they gather and choose one of them to lead the way, believing that he has knowledge of the forest and how to get out of it, what will be the relationship between him and those who selected him? If it is night or early morning, his job will be to beat the dew (omusulo, orume, lime, erindii (Lugbara), ekuuna (Ateso),toyo (Acholi), to clear away the thorns and crush through the tall grass (kubaanda omukyenkye – a particular type of tall grass – the one they get drinking straws from). His job is to get the correct bearings of the geography (North, East, South or East) and lead his group out of the forest. His job is, therefore, having correct bearings of the compass, beating the dew (kuteera orume), cutting the thorns and crushing through the grass (kubaanda ekishaka). He is not a carrier (omwekorezi, omuheekyi) of any of the group members. If anybody needs to be carried, it cannot be the group leader because that may interfere with his ability to navigate the direction. It is actually very dangerous for the leader of the group to be burdened with carrying somebody who has collapsed. The whole group may end up being lost in the forest. Above all, as I said, a leader is not a service provider. That is done by the civil servants. He is not an employee. That is, again, the civil servants. To lead is to show the way, by speaking and doing things of how people can get out of subsistence farming and engage in commercial farming etc. etc., sending children to school and providing them with entaanda (packed lunch) as we agreed under UPE so that we minimize the issue of money, how to save money and join cooperatives, how to be frugal etc. etc. Many of the leaders have failed to know this. They wrongly attempt the extreme of futility to run their constituencies using their personal money, by providing petty sums of money to their supporters. I call this futile because an individual cannot manage to support the families in a constituency or a sub-county. They attempt to fundraise for this church, the other mosque, this other school, etc., etc. What is the result? Heavy indebtedness by the leader – to the extent of having their properties sold off. This is not only total failure of leadership but endangers the security and independence of our country. We cannot have financially beleaguered people deciding the destiny of a country. This mistake must stop. Fortunately, there are institutionalized solutions of our people in place that have not been properly utilized. As pointed out above, the total money for NAADS and other funds that could be used for wealth creation amount to about 500 billion shillings per annum. These do not include Universal Primary Education (UPE) money which is of the magnitude of 950 billion shillings per annum. UPDF, on my orders, has started using some of the NAADS money. You can see the impact already, just after three seasons. In attempt to cope with these pressures, some groups agitate for higher salaries even before we have dealt with the issue of infrastructure. Demand for higher salaries by one category of public servant incites other categories to make similar demands. Soon this mistake – where Uganda, still a low income country, creates a high wages structure that scares away investments. Factories migrated into China attracted by low wages. Factories are now migrating out of China into East Africa partly attracted by lower wages. Some of the leaders of Uganda, however, are scaring away these factories by, on the one hand, mishandling the investors and, on the other hand, leading the premature campaign of over pricing of Uganda’s labour that will lead to Uganda, again, missing out. This is not acceptable. We must go back to the arrangement where wages are fixed by one authority. Besides, the wages policy must fit in our overall strategy of economic development. Let us also look at countries that have recently got out of poverty. What was the wage structure in China between 1949 when the Communists came to power and now? How about India? How about South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia? Why? I will cause a paper to be written on this subject for future discussion. At a personal level, however, you could look at my testimony. In the last 50 years of my contribution to Uganda, I either get no salary (e.g. 1971-79 minus the two years at the Moshi Cooperative College and 1981-86) or I get very low salaries. However, using whatever little money that I earn, I, prudently, invest that money. The consequence is that my low Government salaries notwithstanding, I am a rich man, by the rate of the private sector (farming). We can, therefore, sacrifice by offering our services to the State of Uganda cheaply but compensate for that by engaging in wealth creation. In time, when the State of Uganda is able, it will remunerate us, even when we are no longer there. I trust the future Ugandans will see their President since 1986 was lowly remunerated and his descendants are entitled to something better. We have already done this for pensioners and even the former leaders (Presidents, Vice-Presidents, Prime Ministers etc). We have revised upwards the money that we paid their families as gratuity or pension. Let us take care of Uganda. Uganda will take care of us. Let us develop Uganda Uganda will remunerate us or our descendants. We are now taking care of King’s African Rifles (KAR) – the Ugandans who fought for the British in the Inter-imperalist wars (e.g. 1939 and 1945).
Up to this financial year, I resisted the pressure of increasing the salaries of Public Servants teachers etc because we had to, first and foremost, provide money for the roads, electricity, schools, Defence etc. It is this prioritization that has enabled us to guarantee security in Uganda and also cause this development you are seeing in spite of starting with a very low base. On account of my resistance, we were able to provide shs.1, 700 billion for roads per year and shs. 1,752 billion for electricity per year. Earlier on, I talked about the roads that have been tarmacked. Regarding the electricity, I would like to remind all of you that all the district towns are now connected to electricity except for Buyende, Kotido and Kaabong. These will also be connected. All these would not have been possible if we had not sacrificed consumption of today to put money in the Energy Fund just as we did with the Road Fund. Having secured, as already pointed out, shs.1.7trillion per annum for the roads and shs. 1.752 trillion for electricity, I was relaxed enough to allow the expenditure of an extra shs.480 billion on salaries for Public Servants and teachers this financial year. With the money already allocated to the roads, electricity and defence per annum, although it is not enough to cover all our needs for infrastructure, this level of funding is much better than anything Uganda has ever had in the 120years. I will have to use, some methods to, for instance, tarmarck Rwenkungu-Masindi Port- Apac-Lira-Kitgum road. However, as already pointed out, we have never had it any better. Accordingly, I have instructions that for the next financial year, we shall look at 3 groups: the University Professors and Lecturers, the district councilors and the traditional Leaders. We need to pay the Professors and Lecturers well so that they stabilize and educate our children well. The councillors are near the people and can help us monitor Government programmes better, not using their personal money but using the money meant for monitoring as already mentioned. Since we restored cultural leaders, it is common sense that we should concomitantly give them decent funding beyond the present level. Kamwe kamwe nigwo muganda. Akwaata empola atuuka wala. Bugu bugu si muliro. One by one makes a bundle.
All the efforts I have talked about above, did not include the petroleum and gas we discovered in 2006. By 2017, we shall start pumping the oil out for our refinery and the pipeline. We estimate a production of 180,000 barrels on average per day. If we assume a low price of US dollars 70 per barrel, that will give us an annual extra income of US dollars 4.6billions. 70% of this money i.e. US dollars 3.2billions will be Uganda Government money. This money will never be used for salaries, imports etc. etc. it will only be used for hydro-power dams and other forms of energy, the standard gauge railway, industrialization (industrial-estates), scientific innovation and research and high-level science education and technical training. With this money per annum we can pay for the much talked about standard gauge railway in just two years. Uganda is unstoppable.
In conclusion, the principles of the NRM-Patriotism, Pan-Africanism, Socio-economic transformation and Democracy have served us well. Distilled in the student study groups of the 1960s and within the progressive wings of the old political parties, these principles have helped us to successfully wedge two resistance wars (1971-79 and 1981-86) culminating in the capture of power, in 1986. Once we captured power, we were able to unite the people of Uganda as never before. We have been able to reconstruct and strengthen Uganda as never before.
However, we could have done better if it was not for the following weaknesses: delaying investment projects, lack of cohesion in budgeting, corruption in UNRA and in other Government institutions, failure to universalize the Prosperity For All (PFA) in the whole country until UPDF had to come in and the commercialization of politics which is very dangerous. There is the weakness of not keeping in touch with and utilizing the 30 Committee Members who make up the branches of the NRM that are in each of the 57,792 Ugandan villages. Finally the need to ensure that the high literacy rate notwithstanding (now at an average rate of 77.1% for the males and 75.2% for the females, making a total average of 76.1%), we need to skill the Ugandan youths with technical, professional and managerial skills. If we address these bottlenecks, Uganda will be unstoppable. The sky will be the limit.
I thank all of you and wish you a successful conference.
Museveni waves to the People
Source : The Independent